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Friday, January 31, 2014

New Carbon Printer- Gizmag

US$5,000 for the world’s first 3D carbon fiber printer

January 28, 2014
The Markforged Mark One – the world's first 3D printer capable of printing carbon fiber
The Markforged Mark One – the world's first 3D printer capable of printing carbon fiber
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Auto and motorcycle enthusiasts with a bit of CAD savvy will soon have access to a remarkably affordable dream machine – the US$5,000 MarkForged Mark One. Touted as the world’s first 3D printer capable of printing in carbon fiber, the device could trigger an avalanche of aftermarket carbon fiber bolt-on parts.
Carbon fiber (CF) has long been a material of choice for automotive and aerospace applications due to its light weight and extreme strength – to the point where its trademark weave pattern has become synonymous with high performance vehicles. Carbon fiber bolt-on parts, or even plastic ones designed to look like CF, are hot items in the aftermarket auto parts industry, and the ability to 3D print such items will presumably open up all sorts of new applications in this and other areas.

Designed and manufactured by MarkForged, the Mark One can print to a maximum size of 305 x 160 x 160 mm (12 x 6.25 x 6.25 in). In addition to CF, it can also print in fiberglass, nylon and polylactic acid (PLA) – although it only prints one material at a time through its dual extrusion print head. And since it's vital to be able to remove and replace the print tray in exactly the same place between layer runs, the Mark One's removable platform clips back in with 10-micron accuracy.

Automotive applications will be close to the heart of MarkForged President Gregory Mark, who also co-owns Aeromotions – a company that produces some really impressive computer controlled aerodynamic CF spoiler wings for high-performance race cars.

Carbon fiber wing part produced with the Mark One

Of course, this kind of technology puts custom carbon parts within reach of all sorts of other industries as well, and allows intricate shapes to be formed that would be very tough to create using traditional CF manufacturing techniques.

At just $5,000, the Mark One will be well within the price range of many custom auto builders, and even possibly some backyard thumb-bangers with a flair for computer design. Exciting stuff! MarkForged says the Mark One will be "available soon."

The Mark One can be seen churning out some carbon fiber 3D prints in the following video.
Source: MarkForged via
About the Author
  Loz loves motorcycles - at the age of two, he told his mother "don't want brother, want mogabike." It was the biker connection that first brought Loz to Gizmag, but since then he's covered everything from alternative energy and weapons to medicine, marital aids - and of course, motorcycles. Loz also produces a number of video pieces for Gizmag, including his beloved bike reviews. He frequently disappears for weeks at a time to go touring with his vocal band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
So it only prints 2D layers of composite fibers? (Which is basically a RepRap, except with fiber instead of heated plastic wire.) In the vertical dimension, it will be limited to the strength of the resin. The whole point of fiber composites is being able to orient the fibers to provide maximum strength. Being limited to 2D layers severely limits the applications.
Jim Bruin
28th January, 2014 @ 08:38 pm PST
This is good, give it 5-10 more years with the advancement of this tech, and it might drop in half(2500) or to 1000 dollars.
28th January, 2014 @ 08:42 pm PST
They may sell the printer cheap but the supplies expensive - you know, like the current ink printers business model...
28th January, 2014 @ 08:46 pm PST
if you don't weave the carbonfiber it is worth nothing ...
building things out if carbonfiber is more like basket weaving. the structure brings the strength, not the material on its own.
29th January, 2014 @ 03:59 am PST
I seriously doubt that the printed objects will have anywhere the strenght and lightness of the autoclaved oriented CF. Surely, you could print particulars with a CF look, actually made with CF!
29th January, 2014 @ 09:28 am PST
Hey guys, that is just the beginning, yeah? In a few years it will be able to 'print' (do they mean 'to lay'?) Various lengths, widths AND orient the fibers in the desired direction. At least I believe so.
Volodya Kotsev
29th January, 2014 @ 10:03 am PST
If previous posters are correct in doubting the strength of printed objects they should realize that many objects in the auto world are mainly bling and eye candy. It's amazing what some car lovers will shell out for bragging rights alone.
29th January, 2014 @ 10:20 am PST
Printed CF autos, boats and airplanes are the future.
29th January, 2014 @ 11:24 am PST
Yeah, carbon fiber filament for 3D printing has been around for a while (see e.g., so there's really nothing new here.
Now, put that FDM print head on a 5-axis CNC so you can orient the fibers at will, and you've got something...
29th January, 2014 @ 12:09 pm PST
I agree with most of these posters - At this stage the layering and "plying" of the fibers is not there to give the legendary strength, but for decorative CF looking pieces it will be popular enough to get a ready market. Covers, dashboards, all things that can overlay the real item will sell well.
The Skud
29th January, 2014 @ 04:57 pm PST
Weaving is not essential. Having fibres in different directions very often is but that can to some extent be achieved with this design. Although it looks indeed like this will only be in 2D. One of the main issues with high strength composites is the accurate spacing of fibres in the resin without any air trapped inside. That is perhaps difficult to achieve. Alternative methods often require a vacuum blanket or autoclaves. A whole new class of 3D products could be created by letting the head print on a rotating shape. This could be a tube, ball or less symmetric shapes. This process is called filament winding. In 1996 I experimented with such a process creating continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic products. Those were the days...
Paul Rudenko
30th January, 2014 @ 02:36 pm PST
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